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Bankia's IPO may face a barrage of lawsuits

After the expert report of the Bankia case was revealed, the legal experts consulted by EXPANSIÓN point out that there will foreseeably be a flood of claims from a large part of the 300,000 investors.
The lawyers show that from the criminal perspective, "the clarity and forcefulness of the report by the Bank of Spain experts gives new procedural impetus to the investigation of the Bankia case." Jordi Ruiz de la Villa, financial litigation partner at Jausas, considers that the report "reinforces the thesis that Rodrigo Rato and the rest of the administrators and directors of Bankia allegedly committed the crimes of fraud, misappropriation, and , falsification of annual accounts, fraudulent or disloyal administration and machination to alter the price of things.
In this sense, José Antonio Rodríguez, banking and financial partner at the Marimón firm, assures that the report "represents a reinforcement of the criminal liability of Bankia and its board of directors." Gonzalo Jiménez-Blanco, partner at Ashurst, points out that "although it is an expert opinion and there must still be contradiction and trial until reaching a sentence, there is no doubt that the report has value in the ongoing proceedings."
For Javier Cremades, president of Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo, "this is evidence endowed with an important presumption of objectivity and veracity, both due to its subjective origin - qualified experts from the Bank of Spain - and its organic origin - report issued to request of the judge himself.
At this point, jurists believe that there are three possible fronts for those affected by the listing to take place: criminal claims, by appearing in proceedings before the National Court; administrative files (CNMV, BDE) –although individuals would obtain nothing–; and civil claims.
The experts explain that the civil actions that the injured parties could take from this moment could be "the action of liability for falsifying the prospectus - derived from article 28 of the Securities Market Law -, fraud or the action for compensation for breach of obligations.
Ruiz assures that "there could also be actions against the auditors - for non-contractual liability - as well as claims for hybrid products - preferred shares and subordinated debt - of Banco de Valencia and Bancaja, to whose entities the report attributes accounting irregularities."
Rodríguez states that "a different procedural route could also be opened for financial liability of the Administration, taking into account a probable failure of the CNMV as supervisor and even a possible liability of the Bank of Spain." But, as the Navas & Cusí firm states, what is certain is that "demands for annulment of the placement are going to skyrocket."
Who pays If the judge determines that the accounts were false and that there is liability, all the jurists consulted believe that "it would have to be Bankia itself that would pay those affected, without prejudice to the possible civil liability of its administrators." ». However, both José Antonio Rodríguez and Jordi Ruiz add that "the report reinforces the possible existence of a patrimonial responsibility of the State for the abandonment of functions of the Bank of Spain and CNMV."
On the other hand, Ruiz also points out that "investors now also have a good basis to direct their actions against Deloitte, as Bankia's auditor, for negligence in the review of the financial statements."
Likewise, yesterday it was learned that the Provincial Court of Valencia has upheld the right of a plaintiff to claim Bankia for alleged deception in the information provided in the IPO, before the procedure investigated by the National Court is resolved. Bankia had requested the suspension of these lawsuits until there was a final ruling on Prim Street, but the Valencian court believes that this ruling is not necessary to appreciate deception and thus opens the door for shareholders to claim the refund through civil means. of what was contributed.
Another court, the first instance court in A Coruña, has sentenced Bankia to return 430,000 euros to an individual affected by preference shares. And this same week it was learned that a court in A Coruña sentenced NCG Banco and Frob to return 8.5 million euros to Manuel Jove and four other investors on the grounds that there was bad faith and information was hidden, a lawsuit brought by the SLJ and Ashurst offices.
Some of the main national and international law firms declined to comment for this information due to possible conflicts of interest.

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